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News & Dev


August 24, 2015

Howdy folks! Due to some last minute scheduling issues, todays ‘Ask Project Zomboid Developers TIS Anything’ will be hosted (written out in a clumsy panic) by me, Lemmy, so forgive any horrid mistakes or omissions, or sites I’ve forgotten to look for questions on. If so we’ll get more of you next week!.

So let the questions commence!

“Any info on the development of Louiseville?”

Binky: With the development of Creative Mode, we’re taking our map development (which has so far been a fairly time-consuming process) in part into this system in order to hopefully speed up the rate we can fill it. The actual city part of the map is the last part we’ll get to, since it’s the most Northerly region – but you can expect the outskirts of the city to become more and more dense and built-up as you head north.
“I heard that the problem with vehicles is that they move to fast in multiplayer for the map to load. if that’s true, then is it possible to have them in single player? will there be a vehicle like an rv where a player drive and the others chills inside like if it was a building?”
EasyP: Map-loading is a bigger issue in multiplayer obviously due to the number of vehicles that might be moving around.  In singleplayer, map loading at vehicle speeds adds some strain but is very do-able.  Having a vehicle with a furnished interior that the player can walk around in?  It hurts my brain to think of how that might be implemented.

Lemmy: We’ve been considering a single player only initial release to speed up the vehicles release, but with all the stuff on our plate at the moment we wouldn’t like to commit to a build number when that may happen.

“Referring to the medical system, I have seen that within the game files there are different types of injuries, such as skull fracture, this will be implemented with the new animation system, we can recognize whether an individual is fractured.”

Binky: We do have some injury-related animations in the works, but until we have all this stuff in-game and working it’s difficult to predict what the implications on system requirements all these extra animations will have. It’s possible we may need to prioritise certain animations over others and cut back on the more incidental stuff. But we’ll see, and hopefully not. Certainly when it comes to limping on legs or having messed up arms we’ll very likely have animations to deal with that.

“Do you think you guys will ever dedicate a update or do a massive update to making project zomboid more moddable like custom moodles portable fridges etc”

RJ: Custom moodle is a thing we want for a long long time, but more of that, we need to rewrite moodles entirely for that and having a better customizable moodles system.

Like switching from icons to text with low/high priority that you can custom in game (for example you don’t want to be bother with having a small shard in your hand.. ) with event to trigger them so it’s easily moddable.

As for portable fridge, I’m pretty sure you can already do it! Just remember to set the container type as “fridge” and it should work!

“How is the progress with NPCs? Which obstacles have to be overcome for the finishing line? What tasks remain left to be done?”

Lemmy: Right now the thing mainly holding back the NPCs is the new animation system. It’s a fundamental shift in the way the characters control, both to play and from a code perspective. It just became clear a lot of time was being wasted in implementing NPC behaviours when everything was set to change. As such the decision was made to move the NPC codebase over to the new animation system, so that they can be built in tandem and all future NPC development happens on the new animation base. We’re steadily getting all our little ducks in a row.

“Will there ever be legit ways of opening locked doors and windows (e.g. with a crowbar)?”
EasyP: There’s a mod called “Lockpicking Mod” that allows you to pick locks and break them with a crowbar.  Would taking that mod and putting it in the game count as “legit” or a “ripoff”?
“I love the map of this game, so my questions are: Having planned Louisville and Fort Knox, about how many (x,y) tiles we can expect to be the full already planned map?. And further than LV and FK have you targeted any other town around to be the next in a far future?”

Binky: It’s hard to give an exact size because the actual organisation of the sub-regions are something which I’ve been fiddling with quite substantially. Originally the region was ludicrously massive which sounds nice in theory, but really just meant way too much repetition in the map. So I’ve scaled some aspects of it down and rearranged things a few times so far. Suffice to say, it’s big. The Fort Knox side of our kentucky region has yet to have anything of note really developed. That will probably be the last region which we add. We also have earmarked another potential town area, but whether or not we get to that really depends on to what extent the map creation process speeds up and whether, given the size of the map by that point, we even think it necessary.
“Are there any plans to get rid of floating buildings? Either player-constructed ones, or existing buildings where the entire first floor was destroyed?”

RJ: Some kind of gravity system? I’d be up for that, for sure! Either for construction (can’t construct a über big bridge without foundation, can’t construct a 2nd floor if it’s not a room under it…) or for demolition, if you burn the first walls floor for example, the whole building could collapse!

This need some research and calcul to see how it could work.. But I think I could base it on The Sims.. They did the construction quite well…

Lemmy: We gotta nerf those sky forts so I’d say this is a safe bet for ‘at some soon (TM) etc’

“How will the NPC’s react to the zombie apocalypse in the beginning of it? Will they act like players and just start looting houses and beating zombies to death with spoons? Or will they act more “normal” for example trying to get to a police station in hopes of the police force saving them? Listening to a radio / watching TV to figure out whats going on? Or just simply getting into their car and flooring it the hell out of major cities and areas infested with zombies? Etc…”

Lemmy: Right now it’s not clear if we’d have the time or resources to do the ‘at the moment of the apocalypse’ pandemonium, neither in terms of the fact that the NPC workload is massive as it is and we’re already taking our sweet time, as well as it probably requiring a lot of NPCs, a lot of new dialogue, and new behaviours to pull of convincingly, I wouldn’t say so. It’d obviously be really cool to do sometime if we get the
opportunity though!

“Could we live and sleep inside of cars? If we spawn with the keys to our own house, would we also spawn with the keys to our cars if any were present? “
Tim: You can sit in a car, but is that living?  Hiding/sleeping in a car both make sense.  I don’t know if keys will be required.  It might be annoying to have cars everywhere and not be able to find keys.

“Are there any plans to revamp the hunger system? A system that is not too complex that you have to count calories (The Long Dark) but a system that is not as easy as just eating a 1/4 of whatever and having everything in order (Project Zomboid as now), and if you do, are there any plans to change it soon sometime after build 33? Or you see it as something that doesn’t need priority right now? Can you guys give any details of how you imagine that system?”

RJ: On my own, right now I didn’t planned to rework the hunger system, but I know lot of you guys want it to be more complex and not just having to fill your stomach with chips

Calories was the plan, in a bit more easier, you could have “good food” and “bad food” with a nutrition system, so for example eating chocolate will not reduce hunger for long and give you bad nutrition, so understand fat.

But I think it could be too much micro management for the player, and the effect of fat would take time to take, I mean, how many time it take you to see difference in your body by eating only candies? Anyone want to try that for me?

So the ideal plan would be to find a balance between this, having fun by taking care of what you eat, but not having to stress about drinking one more soda!

I remind you we already have a system where your fitness/strength evolved with how you play

I’m afraid with a system like this people will then ask lot more things like: having body sculpt machine to do workout, animation for doing abs….

“How are the animations coming along? Will we have animations for various tasks such as sitting, sleeping, eating, reading, rummaging through containers, visible backpacks, etc?”

Binky: We’ve got quite the collection of additional animations now, and the model that they’ve been developed using has an upgraded skeleton, with bones for equipping secondary items (so that we could, for example, display a bag held in the off-hand) as well as a bone for a backpack. So all this stuff is progressing nicely, but there’s still work code-wise to tie these new anims and behaviours into the game. But so far, things are looking good and we think you’ll all be really happy with the new animations which Martin has done.While we’re talking about Martin, during his time animating he’s also worked on some additional models which means new weapons and items which can be visibly displayed in-game. Hopefully all that stuff will make it into the game at the same time as the animations themselves.
Lemmy: Yup, we seen the new running with a visible backpack animation (in Max) just last week and it was ultra sexy, the way the backpack kinda jiggles around on the back as he runs!
“Will you be adding sleep as an option to multiplayer anytime soon?”
Lemmy: It’s something that’s definitely planned, at least for small co op games.
Tim: We’ll have to sleep on that and get back to you when the dream-dragons tell us the solution.
“Are NPCs going to react differently if we set the zombie population option in Sandbox to 0? Are they still going to comment on zombies and the apocalypse and such?”

Lemmy: Certainly not for the first version, however we do hope to be able to somehow flag conversations about zombies so we could omit them if zombies are turned off, or someone modded in a game with a different kind of threat.

“What Dragon lore are you going to be using? Which films, books & mythology are you taking your inspiration from?”

RJ: I think because we use 3D Isometric view, I’ll go for Ultima Online’s Dragons.

I mean, ok, I’m a fan of Lord British, but taming dragon guys, TAMING DRAGON!

Ok, that won’t be easy, first you’ll need to survive 6 months the Winter is Coming challenge, then go straight to the Mall to survive Opening Hours for 8 weeks, and then, we’ll see..

As for books/mythology? Wellllll… I’m a fan of the farseer trilogy, but creating your own dragons from poor souls? That’s too mu.. Wait no, that’s a great plan… Brb coding.

“Regarding NPC meta population:

1) How is the number, spawning, and caching of NPCs going to be handled? I mean, are all NPCs going to be spawned at world initiation as unique objects that build up histories and stats, OR are they going to be handled more like zombies currently (ie interchangeable, randomized at cell load, and otherwise static or abstracted when not loaded)? Are these going to be Dwarf Fortress NPCs or more like GTA NPCs? If the former, can you tell us more about how their lives will be abstracted?”

Lemmy: NPCs will (conceptually, as in their appearance, inventory, personality and vague position) persist fully. The amount they will process will go down since they don’t have the environment around them to navigate, so they will just move between locations directly (though we plan to make them use the roads as navigation networks outside the stream radius).

“2) How adjustable will starting NPC population counts be? Also, how will the NPC population interact with the zombie population? For instance, I would love to start a world with 99:1 NPCs:zombies and watch as the NPCs are slowly killed off or zombified during play, ending up with like 1:99 NPC:zed.”

Lemmy: I dare say they will be pretty customizable in the sandbox mode!

“3) Will new NPCs be spawned after world initiation, like zombies are now, or will you be able to effectively depopulate the map of all NPCs? Will we be able to adjust this to our liking, ala the current zombie population system?”

Lemmy: A combination of them both. New NPCs will migrate in from the edge of the map, and we may occasionally fudge it for the sake of cool little story moments, but for the most part we’re trying to make NPCs persist as much as possible.

“4) How moddable is the NPC system going to be for us?”

Lemmy: Pretty damn moddable. A lot more than they originally were. Most of the NPC core behaviour is written in text file behaviour trees, so they are all editable. However to create new ‘nodes’ to program in you’d need code changes, though we’ve already got a ton of versatility from the system and much more is likely before release.

Hello I’m that bit of text at the end whatever I was called. This is a bit like when that character from a TV show you like is written by someone else, or has their actor replaced that doesn’t really speak with the same voice. it’s weird. The North rules. Long live the North! QPR suck! If you want to read this nonsense in your inbox then click here. Do some work on our Wiki you lazy buggers. Steam image was someone called CAf . That is all, please go away and come back another Monday. .

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